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How Many States In Australia? Facts On States & Federal Territories

At 7.69 million square miles, Australia is the largest country in Oceania and the world’s sixth-largest country. Are you wondering how many states in Australia are and which are its federal territories? Well, there are six states and ten federal territories in the country of Australia.

States, Territories and External Territories in Australia

To answer the question “How many states in Australia,” the mainland is home to five Australian states, with the remaining state located on an island more than 100 miles away.

Because of their location, three of the federal territories are referred to as internal territories. The remaining seven territories are external territories because they are located outside the country.

How many states in Australia
By Nothing Ahead/Pexels.Copyright 2022.

How Many States in Australia: An Overview

Historically, each state in Australia is a successor to its previous colonies. Let’s get more into the question, ‘How many states in Australia?’

Australia’s six states in descending order of population size are New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, and Tasmania. Administratively, each state has its own judiciary with the option of appealing to a federal court and its own constitution and its own legislative (parliament), judicial, and executive branches.

Some areas of legislative power that the Australian parliament retains are the right to legislate on Foreign policy and Military policy.

New South Wales

New South Wales is Australia’s most densely populated state; over 8189.3 people call New South Wales their home. Most diverse communities are settled here, contributing to the cosmopolitan nature of New South Wales.

The Lord Howe Island Group is a part of the state of New South Wales and is governed by the Lord Howe Island Board, which reports to the New South Wales Minister for Environment and Heritage.

how many states in australia
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With its capital in Brisbane, Queensland is a banana farming and processing hub. The world’s largest coral reef system, the Great Barrier Reef, can be found off the coast of Queensland. You can also find Q1 Tower in gold coast city, which is the highest skyscraper in Australia.

South Australia

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South Australia is a state in Australia’s southern central region, with its capital Adelaide. South Australia is a hub of mining industries various enormous mining activities, including significant uranium mines and the world’s biggest zircon mines are in this state.


Tasmania is the country’s only state which is 240 kilometres south of Australia, separated by the Bass Strait with its capital at Hobart.

In the 19th century, vast land areas were divided to create Tasmania, founded in 1825 as a different colony called Van Diemen’s Land, and the Colony of New South Wales. 

How many states in Australia
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World Heritage Areas cover nearly half of Tasmania’s land area, with sparkling alpine lakes, wild rivers, and mist-cloaked peaks. 


With its capital in Melbourne, Victoria is the second-smallest state of Australia. This compact area contains a wide range of diverse regions and attractions, including sweeping coastlines, pristine beaches, and forests teeming with wildlife, as well as wineries, lakes, and mountains offering skiing, climbing, and hiking. Best of all, many of Victoria’s distinct and varied landscapes.

Western Australia

The last answer to your question, “How many states in Australia” would be Western Australia.

Western Australia is the largest state in terms of land area. The population of Western Western Australia is more than 2681.6 people, with its capital city at Perth. The arid Outback dominates Western Australia, which encompasses the entire western third of the country. Western Australia is also the second-highest producer of iron ore in the world.

Until now, you might have got the idea on “how many states in Australia”. Let’s dive into its federal territories. Scroll down to know more.

Federal Territories in Australia

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Several territories have been abolished throughout Australia’s history. Central and North Australia was reincorporated as the Northern Territory, and the United Nations Trust Territory of Nauru and the Territory of Papua and New Guinea are such examples.

Presently three governing territories and the other seven external territories are in Australia.

Internal Territories

The country is divided into three internal territories, as previously stated. The Capital Territory of Australia, Northern Territory, and Jervis Bay Territory are the Internal Territory. These territories are governed by “The Federal Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities”.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

The Capital Territory of Australia is 85 kilometres long from north to south and only 53 kilometres long from west to east. The surrounding landscape is made up of rugged plains, hills, and mountains, as well as a lot of trees. The territory is again related to the question “How many states in Australia” because the Capital Territory of Australia acts as federal capital to all states and territories.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT), which houses Canberra, Australia’s federal capital, was built between Sydney and Melbourne in the early twentieth century. You can sight the National Art Museum in Canberra, which is also known as The National Gallery.
Other important national institutions like the grand Australian War Memorial and the massive, strikingly modern Parliament House are here.

How many states in Australia
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Northern Territory

Northern Territory (also known as NT) is a large federal territory in Australia known for its Outback desert landscapes. This area doesn’t have a legislative assembly and has to rely on the federal government to create local laws.

Central Australia was a state of Australia that existed from 1927 to 1931. It was formed in 1927 by the partitioning of the Northern Territory, forming the state of North Australia; Central Australia dividing line between the two states was 20 degrees south latitude. The two states were merged again in 1931 to form the Northern Territory.

Jervis Bay Territory

Jervis Bay Territory is a beautiful area in the corner of New South Wales State. The coastline of this area has snow-white sand beaches that attract more tourists. Surprisingly, few people outside of New South Wales are aware of the Jervis Bay area, which is also a good place for dolphin and whale watching.

Jervis Bay Territory has spectacular National Parks along the coast, in the sea, and the hinterland provides excellent bushwalking, cycling, Indigenous culture, and camping opportunities.

Jervis Bay Territory is included in the list of internal territories of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), which means that the federal parliament directly handles the administration.

External Offshore Territory of Australia

Seven external territories are not part of Australia’s mainland or its states. Three have a small permanent population, two have a small and transient population, and two are uninhabited.

The federal Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development, and Cities is in charge of all offshore territories. The federal government directly controls it.

Ashmore Reef and Cartier Islands

Ashmore Reef is located west of Darwin and north of Broome. This reef system covers a total area of 1.12 square kilometres, with the largest part measuring about one kilometre in length.

Cartier Island is located in the Indian Ocean’s West Sahul region, 46 kilometres southeast of Ashmore Reef. The Cartier Islands Marine Reserve encompasses an area of 167 square kilometres.

how many states in australia
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Cartier Island’s unique and vulnerable ecosystems and surrounding reefs, which have high biological diversity, including lots of fish species, are protected by the Reserve.

Australian Antarctic Territory

The constitutional status of the Australian Antarctic Territory is unclear, with successive governments treating it as either a separate territory or part of Australia. Mawson claimed British sovereignty over what is now known as the Australian Antarctic Territory.

Australia had had a continuous scientific presence in Antarctica since 1954 when the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition established the Mawson base on the coast of MacRobertson Land.

Christmas Island

Christmas Island, in the Indian Ocean, is an Australian territory just south of Java. At first, the land was inhabited, but the situation changed soon after phosphate was discovered. The British government then started establishing settlements for mining phosphate in large quantities.

Christmas Island is also well-known for red crabs and their migration across the island. Christmas Island is the peak of a submarine mountain that rises steeply from the sea to a central plateau.

Cocos Island

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This island territory is an untouched tropical island located in the Indian Ocean region, abundant wildlife, especially sea birds, and an internationally significant seabird rookery, which is also one of the external territories. Commonwealth laws apply automatically in the administration of this island.

Coral Sea Islands

The Coral Sea Islands Territory comprises many small islands spread across a large geographical area. The islands territory is one of the external territories and is separated from mainland Australia. Coral Reef and sandbank islands are pretty small, and the total area of the islands comprising Coral Sea Islands Territory is only seven square kilometres.

Heard Island and McDonald Islands

Heard Island and the nearby Islands of McDonald are situated in the southwest of Perth, Western Australia, and also north of Antarctica. Several volcano eruption activities have been reported in these two external territories since 1980. Such eruptions on McDonald Islands have increased the height and size of the islands.

The incredible thing is that the island has also been listed as a World Heritage Site, which is remarkable.

Norfolk Island

The Australian territory of Norfolk Island is one of the external territories located in the Pacific Ocean, about 1600 kilometres northeast of Sydney. Norfolk Island Territory consists of Norfolk, Phillip, and Nepean Islands and covers an area of slightly more than 37 square kilometres.
New South Wales governs it at the Federal level despite Norfolk Island’s status as a Commonwealth and Australian external territory. Getting to Norfolk island requires an international flight, immigration clearance, and a passport.

how many states in australia
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So, when someone asks “how many states in Australia”, the short answer will be six states, but the country has a wide range of options. The country is all one package for travellers and adventure seekers alike. Why wait then? Get here to know the country a little more.

I hope the article, “How Many States In Australia: Some Interesting Facts On Its 6 States and 10 Federal Territories”, has helped you know more about Australia. Comment below to let us know your thoughts!


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